Leaving the Middle East giving the opposition a chance to rebuild.

The argument I often hear for not leaving the ME is that if we leave now the ‘bad guys’ will have a chance to rebuild because we haven’t completely destroyed their infrastructure.

I get that, but haven’t we given them such an ass whup’n by now that it would take at least a decade to come anywhere close to where they were before?

And in that decade wouldn’t it be a good idea for us to go home and lick our own wounds? (Which I guess we are come 2014)

Which countries do you mean by ME?
Who are these ´bad guys´ you speak of?
What do you mean by ´destroying their infra structure´???
What ass whup´n are you talking about that they need a decade to recover from?

All in all a pretty vague question.

An actual quote would help, because that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard. We aren’t really “in” the Middle East. We have some residual troops in Iraq for training, and Afghanistan isn’t really the Middle East.

More specifics about the countries and the bad guys would help.

OK sorry, I figured I could just use generic markers with out issue. Guess I was wrong.
So let’s go with Afghanistan. And the ‘bad guys’ would be al qaeda. And any other affiliated group who’s name escapes me right now.

You really have no idea of what is going on there, do you?

Not that I agree with this argument, but I think it’s more that we are trying to help the government build its infrastructure* rather than destroying aQ’s infrastructure. The latter does’t really need “infrastructure”. They just need to wait it out until we’re gone.

*That term being loosely used to mean the ability to control territory, not so much roads, bridges and dams.

Your snarks contribute nothing to this thread.

Again, my fault, forget infrastructure. I was referring to their ability to network and organize. Or more to the point: Their ability to cause damage with the effect and efficiency they once did.

I think it would benefit this discussion if you quoted someone who articulated what you are concerned about. And hopefully it’s not just some random yahoo on the internet, but someone who is actually in a position to influence policy. If it’s the former, then, yeah there are lot of nuts out there, so I’m not concerned about that particular one.

Isn’t it pretty much the prevailing wisdom that we are getting out of Afghanistan, and that the Taliban (not so much AQ) will re-take a lot of territory once we’re gone? They’re just about the worst sons of bitches on the face of the planet, but it simply takes too much for us (the entire alliance, not just the U.S.) to hold them down and build up the country’s legitimate (laughingly so called) government.

So, yeah, the OP is right. We’re getting out and letting things stew. Really sucks if you happen to be an Afghan woman, or anyone educated. Or a kid. Or someone who has any admiration for liberty. Or…

IIRC, right after 9/11, the U.S. basically said “Give us bin Laden and no one gets hurt.” I think it was pretty much understood that he was not going to be handed over. However, if this had happened, presumably we would not have invaded, and Afghanistan would have been able to continue as before without interference. IMHO now that bin Laden is dispatched with, we should pack our bags and go home.

I realize this is entirely too simplistic and that things are far more complicated. But we wouldn’t have invaded with the sole motive being to correct Afghanistan’s social policies about women’s rights, etc.

I think it was a bit more complicated in the early days, and I expect there would have been more conditions that included kicking aQ out of Afghanistan in addition to turning over ObL.

That’s sort of what we’re doing, albeit much more slowly than I would prefer. I hope Obama isn’t really thinking that Afghanistan will be in better shape when he leaves office than it is now, because I doubt it will be.

Here’s Wiki

So yes, it was a bit more complicated but the Taliban was prepared to hand over Bin Laden.

Emphasis added. Your cite does not substantiate that claim.

But thanks for fleshing out the full extend of the US’s demands.

Yes, thanks for the clarification.

I’ve never seen anything like hard evidence confirming the above, so do you have a cite for that? Afaik, the Taliban never seriously offered to hand over ObL, and I’m not even sure if they had him TOO hand over.

Don’t even know how to respond to the OP though. As others have noted, we aren’t really systematically (or any other way) destroying infrastructure even in Afghanistan (certainly not in The Middle East™). What little infrastructure there is we’ve helped rebuild it. Groups like the Taliban or AQ don’t need infrastructure in any case, assuming ‘infrastructure’ means roads, bridges, communications networks, etc.

We have certainly hurt AQ in Afghanistan, especially from a Command and Control perspective, and we’ve hurt the Taliban as well. If we pulled out of Afghanistan tomorrow I doubt either group would rush to attack us here in the US…they would be fighting for years to try and retake what they have lost and it would be just like the bloody civil wars after the Soviets tucked tail. No idea who would win in the end, but probably the Taliban/AQ in Afghanistan. A hell of a lot more people would die than are dying now, even adding in all those drone attacks, and it would be a long time before either of those groups could do anything substantial to the US. Now…US INTERESTS abroad is a different thing, and I’m sure they would hit us where they could with what they could as often as they could. But, to be sure, their main focus would be on retaking Afghanistan and rebuilding their organizations and power bases.

What self-resepcting terrorist needs Afghanistan when they’ve got Yemen, Somalia and maybe soon Libya and/or Syria, too!

The Guardian

But it is indeed questionable how sincere this offer was.